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New Zealand: Updates to the Essential Skills Visa

The Essential Skills Visa has received updated salary thresholds

As of 15th January 2018 the INZ (Immigration New Zealand) has increased the legal minimum salaries which will affect how long Essential Skills visa applicants can remain in New Zealand and how long their families can stay.

This legal minimum stay does not affect existing Essential Skills holders, it will only apply to those who submit their application after 15th January 2018.

The changes to the salary thresholds can be seen below:

  • Essential Skills visa applicants who earn less than NZD20.65 per hour will only be eligible for a 12 month visa (regardless of the skill level of the job). After three work visas, totalling three years in New Zealand, the applicant must leave for a 12 month cooling off period. Spouses, partners and children are not eligible to be sponsored.
  • Essential skills visa applicants who earn between NZD20.65 and 36.44 per hour will be able to obtain 12 month work visas. After three work visas, totalling three years in New Zealand, the applicant must leave for a 12 month cooling off period. Spouses, partners and children are not eligible to be sponsored.
  • Essential skills visa applicants who earn in between NZD20.65 and 36.44 per hour and in the ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) skill level one, two or three jobs will still be able to obtain three year visas. They can renew this without having a cool-off period and can sponsor family members
  • Essential skills visa applicants who earn more than NZD 36.44 per hour will be able to obtain a five year renewable work visa and support dependent family members

More information

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Immigration team at immigration@sterling.com or call +44(0)20 8836 3359.

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